Clergymen and marriage counsellors usually advise intending couples to always discuss and decide on how expenses will be shared in marriage before they tie the knot. They have to expressly state amongst themselves the responsibility each would shoulder in the marriage.
The weight of the responsibility each would bear may be based on the financial strength or the level of understanding between the couple. In continents like Europe, America; it is not uncommon to see the female as the sole breadwinner for the home. But this is not usually so in Africa, where generally, the man is the head of the home and also the provider. Here, there are a lot of women who contribute to the income of the household.
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Finance is a major issue in marriage and has led to breakup in many homes. Mr. Basil Adimorah, a training and capacity builder, who has been married for 14 years, says that it is important that families draw-up a budget for the year. “At the beginning of the year, I draw the budget for the year with the help of my wife and we plan. This enables us to have an idea on what we have to spend for the year,” he notes.
“In our part of the world, it is assumed that the man is the head of the home, so his salary is for the family while that of the woman is hers alone. But where the woman has the funds, it is right for her to help if the man is incapacitated,” he adds.
He mentions that a good way to manage finance in marriage is for each partner to have a personal account and for the couple to also have another jointly-owned account, which will be the family account. That way, resources can be pooled together after determining what percentage of both incomes goes into the account.
Mrs Carol Arheghan, a businesswoman, says managing finances in a marriage is all about planning, budgeting and prioritising. She explains, “My husband and I budget for everything we do, based on the estimated income we believe is coming in, as we are in the same business. Where the budget is above what we have, then we have to prioritise items in the budget.
“When we prioritise items, we look at workers’ salaries, what is needed in the home and finance them in the order of priority. So the items that are not covered due to shortage of funds are then shelved for the next time money will come in.”
Finance is a sensitive issue in marriage that requires mutual understanding between couples. It requires transparency, sincerity, understanding and communication between couples to guard against dispute.
• Finance in a family is the responsibility of the husband and wife or as agreed before marriage.
• Responsible financial plans in marriage involves planning, budgeting and prioritising.
• Sincerity, transparency, understanding and, above all, communication between couples, are essential to guard against dispute.